A former lifesaver of 25 years, Denis Magnay, of Ballina, believes there should be lifesaving rescue equipment available on all remote beaches.
A former lifesaver of 25 years, Denis Magnay, of Ballina, believes there should be lifesaving rescue equipment available on all remote beaches. David Nielsen

Magnay resuscitating rescue pack

DECORATED Ballina lifesaver Denis Magnay believes lives could be saved if emergency rescue equipment was installed at unpatrolled beaches.

In 1980, after more than 25 years as a surf lifesaver at Lighthouse Beach in Ballina, Mr Magnay developed a rescue capsule that could be positioned near the tracks and pathways leading to beaches.

It contained a torpedo buoy that would activate an emergency beacon powered by a solar panel when accessed. The idea never got off the ground, but in the wake of recent drownings Mr Magnay believes the time is right to revisit the idea.

“With all the communication technology we’ve got in this day and age we could make something of this, but it would need the support of the community to make it work,” he said.

“We could add webcams and recruit sponsorship.

“It could work well, particularly at beaches like South Ballina and Patches Beach where there are nearby villages and a lot of people go swimming.”

Six people have drowned on North Coast beaches in the last month, some while trying to rescue others in trouble.

“I’ve thought a lot about this,” he said.

“If those people had torpedo buoys or floatation devices they might still be alive.

“We owe the tourists who come here a duty of care.

“It’s all right for us, we live here and know the traps, but by drawing tourists here we are taking them outside of their environment.”

Mr Magnay’s idea was inspired by a heartbreaking rescue attempt in 1964 when he was trying to save a young boy and his uncle, for which he received one of two bravery awards.

Unable to rescue two at once he left the pair with another rescuer to keep them afloat and swam back to the beach to break into the surf club for rescue equipment, but was unsuccessful.

The uncle drowned and it has haunted him ever since.

SHOULD RESCUE EQUIPMENT BE PLACED AT UNPATROLLED BEACHES?

SMS 0428 264 948 or email opinions@northernstar.com.au



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